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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

KZNPO CONCERT: MAY 13 (article first published : 2004-05-15)

Circumstances alter cases. When I heard the visiting Russian pianist Boris Petrushansky give a solo recital in Durban in the confines of a relatively small room I was impressed by his virtuosity and big tone but wondered how he would deal with the subtleties of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major when he came to play it with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra in the City Hall later in the week.

In the event, the outcome was a resounding success for soloist and orchestra. This was one of the best concerto performances I have heard in 20 years of listening to our orchestra. In the first place, Petrushansky and the American conductor Leslie Dunner chose an admirably poised and deliberate tempo for the first movement. Beethoven marked it Allegro moderato, but many concert pianists take it too fast, without sufficient emphasis on the exquisite detail of the piece. The remarkable slow movement was played with even more deliberation, to great effect.

Boris Petrushansky played the difficult piano part with crystal-clear articulation and well-judged dynamics. His absorption in and total commitment to the music were a pleasure to the eye and ear, and the orchestra responded with good, accurate playing. A performance to remember.

The orchestra opened the concert with Beethoven’s splendid Coriolanus overture, and after the interval gave an impressive account of a big and impressive work, Sibelius’s Symphony No. l in E minor. Leslie Dunner extracted some excellent playing from the strings, and the brass players shone in the important role assigned to them in this wonderfully eloquent composition. - Michael Green

Click on the KZNPO advert which appears on artSMart pages and this will take you to the orchestra’s website which gives details of the full symphony season as well as other KZNPO activities.




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